One.// I Lost My Mind on Thanksgiving
I finished my Thanksgiving meal
and started gnawing on the plate,
licking the coffee mug, and asking
my aunt if they still have their dead dogs buried
in the backyard, seeing if it isn’t too late
to pay my respects. Everyone acts
like they don’t hear a thing, everyone redirecting
their faces over to my pregnant cousin,
the one who married meth wrapped
in foil, kept it in the cubby hole
of her firstborn’s nursery, all of my relatives
asking enthusiastically about her belly kicks.
This isn’t a junkyard car,
it’s my bedroom.
This isn’t a one-way street,
it’s my hallway. I vacuum it every third Sunday
and if anyone visits, I write
parking tickets with crayons
on napkins stuck to their windshields.
All of the culprits, they eat away
the evidence. I go back
to sleep in the truckbed
of my El Camino.
It’s full of river beetles.
Three.// House Fire Glow
I told all of my friends to come over for a mixer:
a housewarming party flirting as an art gallery.
When everyone arrived, surprisingly right on time,
I showed them my kitchen, where I clicked on the stovetops,
where I turned on the oven, where I took all of their donated
and displayed art and set it all aflame, smoke billowing
through my new home, staining the walls, alarms going off,
everyone saying Wow, how abstract, how expressionistic,
this is a really nice place you have here, the wall fire
sure is authentic. If you don’t mind me asking, how much are you
charging for the shards of art that caught fire earlier today?
Do you take card for a sliver of such an experience?
Do you overcharge or discount if I grab the entire oven
and throw it into my truck to take it home with me?
I majored in horse trading, so just let me know.
Benjamin Niespodziany (he/him) is a librarian at the University of Chicago who owns and operates the multimedia art blog [neonpajamas]. He has had his poetry featured in tenderness, yea, 1833.fm, and Water Soup Press. At the end of 2017, he self-released a chapbook of prose poems known as Dress Code Aquarium.